The Story of Polo: To the world via India

The modern game of Polo is played in at least 77 countries including India, Argentina, the USA and the UK. It was even part of the Olympics between 1900 and 1936. But where did it all start? The very first Polo tournaments were played in Persia or modern-day Iran by tribal nomads. The warlike tribesmen played the game with as many as 100 players to … Continue reading The Story of Polo: To the world via India

Hallagulla about Rossogulla

Bengal is perhaps the sweetest Indian State. Who but the Bengalis, could have invented that divine sweet called Rossogulla? The Bengalis said exactly that, when they applied for the GI* Tag for Rossogulla in 2015. That’s when the gentle people of the neighbouring state of Odisha, exploded! “What nonsense,” they said, “we invented and you copied!”. And thus, began a bitter battle (or should we say sweet battle?). Continue reading Hallagulla about Rossogulla

Mackenzie: The man who found Amarāvatī

A very long time ago, in the 3rd Century BCE, Buddhism in India was in its Golden Age. Asoka the great, a powerful Indian Emperor had converted to Buddhism after a life changing event and sent missionaries to spread the religion far and wide. But something strange happened to Buddhism in India while it thrived in its neighbouring countries. By the 13th century AD, the … Continue reading Mackenzie: The man who found Amarāvatī

The Ashokan Edicts: Trying to make things right

The year was 261 BCE, and in India the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka the Great was planning to go to war with the neighbouring state of Kalinga. By this point Ashoka had been king for 8 years and was known for his ruthless efficiency. He had killed his brothers to secure his throne, crushed rebellions and imprisoned and tortured his enemies. Once certain of his power, … Continue reading The Ashokan Edicts: Trying to make things right

Following the Lotus around the world

The Lotus is India’s floral VIP. Hindu Gods are often shown seated or standing on a blooming lotus or holding one. In Hinduism the flower represents beauty and purity. The supreme Hindu God of creation, Brahma is said to have emerged from inside a lotus. But the lotus as a religious symbol is not limited just to Hinduism or even to India. In fact it … Continue reading Following the Lotus around the world

Against all odds: The Danes in Tranquebar

The year was 1616. The Dutch and the English were bringing home shiploads of goods from the mystical lands of the east. News of India’s riches had spread like wildfire in Europe and everyone wanted to get on the next ship to this golden land. So, by order of the King of Denmark and Norway, admiral Ove Gjedde did just that. The journey however, turned … Continue reading Against all odds: The Danes in Tranquebar

Malik Ambar – The African who built Aurangabad

Trade between Asia and Africa in the 16th century involved precious things like spices, fabric and exotic animals. But often, the cargo included something far more valuable and tragic. Abyssinian Slaves. Purchased from the Ethiopian Empire, these slaves were shipped to large slave markets in the Persian Gulf. Here, wealthy men from Asia and parts of Europe took their pick to add to their household … Continue reading Malik Ambar – The African who built Aurangabad